The campaign for Equal Marriage in the UK

Today’s equal marriage symposium at Cardiff Law School provided lots of useful information on the campaign for same-sex marriage in the UK. So I thought I’d share some of it.

Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger talked about the 2006 High Court case in which they tried unsuccessfully to have their Canadian marriage recognised as a marriage in UK law. Thanks to s.215 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004, their marriage is converted into a civil partnership when they step back into the UK, whether they like it or not. They now maintain an equal marriage rights website with background on their case, discussion of the legal issues and regular updates on gay marriage around the world.

They lost their case, but it forced the Court to put in writing its reasons for upholding a discriminatory provision (see especially paragraphs 116-122) – and as Robert Wintemute commented today, judgments like this don’t age well… .

Since then, a Populus poll for The Times in June 2009 suggested that 61% of the UK population agreed with the statement “Gay couples should have an equal right to get married, not just to have civil partnerships.” Stonewall has come on board (mostly). The Equal Love campaign was launched in October 2010. On 2 February 2011 eight couples lodged an application to the European Court of Human Rights challenging the fact that marriage is limited to opposite-sex couples and civil partnership is limited to same-sex couples. Things are changing around the world.

But despite a flurry of excitement in February, the UK Government Equalities Office merely says in a press release,

Ministers have also identified a desire to move towards equal civil marriage and partnerships, and will be consulting further how legislation can develop, working with all those who have an interest in the area.

Doesn’t the enthusiasm just leap off your screen?

But it’s worth keeping up the pressure. In Scotland, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Equality Network helped run a symposium on equal marriage, leading to a report which calls for a change in the law. The equal marriage Scotland campaign was started by the NUS and during the 2011 election campaign they’re asking Scottish politicians to pledge their support. In Wales, Stonewall is holding hustings for the May 2011 elections (for instance in Cardiff on 19 April) where candidates can be asked about their stance. And across the UK, people can write to their MPs and MEPs to ask them about their views on equal marriage and urge them to write to David Cameron in support.

CFP: Women in Philosophy of Education (Relationships, Practices, Imaginaries)

Women in Philosophy of Education
Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain
Branch Seminar

Relationships, Practices, Imaginaries

September 30-October 2, 2011

University of Edinburgh, Moray House School of Education

In an attempt to profile the work of women, and career-young researchers of both sexes, in philosophy of education, the organisers of this weekend seminar on the theme relationships, practices, imaginaries invite participation from a variety of perspectives and request submissions to present works in progress. Submissions not directly related to the theme are also welcome. Our hope is to create a fertile environment for discussion, networking, and mentoring across a range of interests. We strongly encourage both new and more experienced scholars to get involved in generating an active and lively intellectual community.

We are inviting proposals of works in progress of 2000-3000 words. Deadline for submission is August 15, 2011. The seminar will run from 3 p.m. Friday to 12 p.m. Sunday and there will be 3 time slots for presenters to discuss their work, Friday evening, Saturday morning and afternoon, with a scheduled meeting planned for Sunday morning. We will group the proposals thematically for each of the three time slots, and post them on-line prior to the seminar so that everyone can read them beforehand.

The conference registration fee is £20 and confirmation of participation is required by September 1st. Funding is available for travel, bed and breakfast accommodation and meals. You do not need to present a paper to apply. Since our budget is limited, travel funding will be prioritised according to need. Application forms from Caroline Maloney, carolinemaloney25 AT For more information please contact one of the organisers below.

Morwenna Griffiths Sharon Todd

morwenna.griffiths AT sharon.todd AT